John Hendrix was born in Cherokee nation of what is now Pickens County, in March of 1821. His wife Elenora Leanna Darnell was born in April 1822 in North Carolina, the daughter of S.A. Darnell Sr. and Emily Fields Darnell. No records have been found for John’s parents but they are believed to be Thomas and Nancy Hendrix. ( Nancy is said to be a Cherokee Indian)
John Hendrix was a man who seemed to love adventure. When gold was discovered in California in 1849 John along with his brother Andrew , his brother-in-law John Darnell and Josheua Darnell headed west for the gold fields of California. The first few months were filled with bad luck for John. Andrew died of Typhoid fever, and the mine where he worked was very poor. John thewn bought a new claim on Canyon Creek which turned out to be very good. When John and the Darnells returned to Pickens County he had enough money in gold to buy a large amount of mountain land. The land he bought was near Long Swamp church and was named Hendrix mountain. The Darnells also bought land here, along with the land that John bought their land covered an area from Sharptop mountain to Marble City. They paid twenty five cents an acre. Today Hendrix mountain is part of Bent Tree developement. After John returned from the west he probaly thought his traveling days were over, but that was not to be. At the age of forty five he traveled to Cleveland Tenn. and on December 1 1864 he enlisted in the Union army to serve in the Civil War. John served from then until he was discharged on July 12 1865 at Nashville, Tenn. He returned home to live out the rest of his life and on April 30 1901 John Hendrix died at the age of eighty. He was buried at Long Swamp thew next day.
The following is a letter John Hendrix wrote to his wife while he was in California. The letter is copied just as was written.
After a long time silence it is with much gratification today I take my pen in hand to inform that I am well at present and do hope that these few lines may come safely to home and find you all enjoying a good portion of the rich blessing of this life. I with much reluctance have to write an inexpected letter which are a sad news to sender in a far country. That is the death of Brother Andrew. He Has gone to realities ofan unknown world to us. He departed this life on the 31st of March. He lay three weeks and two days. His complaint was typhoid fever and dysentery which finally taken him to his long home. He has paid the debt that we all have to pay at home and abroad on the land and the sea. It is true when our savior calls. We have to go, prepared or unprepared.
So that will do on that subject. I will leave it now and call your attention to something else. Can inform you that I have only recieved one letter from any of you since I have been in this country of which I can not tell the cause. I would be very gald to see you and if it so that I cant see you, I would be glad to hear from you. When this comes home be sure to write so I may know how you are doing. It would give me great satisfaction to hear. I promised you when I left that I would come home this spring if nothing happened . But it has turned out that I cant come. I have had so much bad luck it has caused me to stay another year. Last fall James Herrin lay sick and lay near three months with the fever and ague, and I had to spend considerable. And then this spring my brother, which has caused me to spend near all I have made. So now I have to take a new start. Provision has been very high the last winter and the mines very poor where I have been working, and I didn’t make very much for the season past. I must say to you to know that I have never got any answer from the gold dust I sent home by landermin; and I would like to hear whether you have ever recieved it or not. And if you have, write how much and all about for I would like to know. I want you when you write whether all my debts are all squared uo or not and whether you are in debt now or not. And if you are in need of anything, and if you are write soon and all about it. I have understood that you have sold my land, I would like to know what you got for it and who to. Such things as this renders me very un easy. Write often so that I may know all about matters and things. I havent written very often myself, but I think I will try to write oftener than I have. I want you to continue yourself the best you can and do the best you can until I come home. I have bought me a claim on canyon creek which cost me P350 and have since sold two interest for P300. Now I am only out P50 Dollars and I think I have got me a very goog gold mine enough to do me until I come home. And I think some of it will pay very well. I have got a very good shanty and the best water runs rite at the dore on all California. The place where I am now at work is vewry heathly and cool in the summer. Tell Mrs. Herrin that James Herrin is here at this time and his health is tolerable good at this time. Nut he is out of a gold mine and are a prospecting around and dont know where he will work this summer. But around here if he can get a mine that will satisfy him. So I will add a little more concerning this country and the weather we have had this last winter.
This country is averry hilly part of the globe and rough in places and are very cold at times. It snows here to be very deep in the winter and lyes on the ground near all summer. We can see plenty of snow on the mountains here in August while the low land of the valleys are richly covered, vegittables and mellons of all kinds of fruits. The forrist here now resembles it at home. The tenth of May everything looks green on the south waters of the hills. The earbes are in many places knee high and are out in bloom.
Give my connection and friends my best repects and tell them to write to me. I always have enough money to pay for letters all in five cents that I dont expect to spend ant other way. I save everyone I get. I have crossed the river often enough and paid my ferridge a hunting for letters to a bought a good cow, and didnt get are-a-one. So now I will come to a close
Yours Very respectfully John Hendrix Leana Hendrix Malinda Hendrix Joshau k( T or H )Hendrix Arena J. Hendrix
Well old woman, a few lines more which I forgotten in the above. If you are(ary) another chile to name while I am gone and if its a boy you must call its name California
This came from Pickens County History submitted by Paul F Hendrix 487 South WhitleyRd. Marble Hill GA 30148.